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Wednesday Reads

Wednesday Reads: Financial Origin Story

A round up of interesting or cool stuff I’ve read.


Image by Kerstin Riemer from Pixabay

 

Your Financial Origin Story

Inspired by the recent Monevator post – What’s your financial origin story?, Indeedably laid down a challenge, much like the Saving Ninja thought experiments of old, to tell our own financial origin story.

Regular FI blog commenter FatBritAbroad made a rare venture into blogging with a guest post on Sovereign Quest to kick it off.

 

Saving origins

I’ve always been a saver. Even as a young teenager, I used to gamify the act of saving.

I’d receive my “income” of monthly pocket money and birthday/Christmas money, which I would duly deposit into my bank account.

Of course, no kid is immune to the allure of “stuff.” In my case, videogames. However, on purchasing the latest game, I would make a commitment to myself to not buy anything else until my bank account reached a higher value than it had been prior to the latest purchase.

As a result, my “net worth” (if you can call a few hundred £ in a current account that!) steadily increased throughout my childhood.

 

Videogames

Speaking of videogames, I often treat imaginary in-game money the same way.

For example, imagine an old Final Fantasy game. You traverse the world, dispatching enemies and accruing enough experience, money, and equipment to defeat the antagonist and save the world.

There typically isn’t much to do with that money, other than spend it on the latest equipment to keep your party fully outfitted and ready to crush the competition.

Is that what I did?

Of course not.

I’d hoard all that money “just in case,” until I reached a boss monster that I couldn’t beat with my current set-up. Then, and only then, would I allow myself to part with some of that money, enabling me to destroy the formerly imposing monster and progress onwards.

Which makes me wonder, what came first? Did my experiences with fake money in videogames inform the way I view real life money? Or vice versa?

 

Age?

I’m the oldest of three children.

When it came to money and stuff, we went from one extreme to another.

As described above, I was very frugal and a saver.

My middle sibling was similar, but had a lot of expensive hobbies.

And the youngest was my complete opposite in this respect, constantly wanting the latest gadget.

These differences intensified as we each approached our twenties.

I moved away from home to attend university. This meant that I had to live off of a combination of my student loan and my savings from my gap year.

Conversely, my two younger siblings chose to attend the local university, allowing them to continue living with my parents. Unsurprisingly, this meant that they had a much greater disposable income than I did during my university years. Most of which, I’m convinced, went on new TVs, consoles and cars!

Thankfully, that phase was relatively short lived. Both siblings have since managed to save enough to buy a house and move out with their respective partners. In that respect, they put me to shame. I’m still renting!

 

Security

I can’t deny that a part of the reason for saving so much is the feeling of security.

Growing up, I remember a few instances of my parents getting stressed about money. For the most part, we were fairly well off; not rich, but enough for a holiday in Europe each year, two cars, etc.

However, there were a few instances where one of my parents’ would lose their job, and suddenly a sense of panic was in the air. At one point, one parent had to take a job on the other side of the country, travelling away for 10 days and returning for 3-4. As you might imagine, neither parent was a fan of this, and it caused many arguments at the time! Thankfully, the situation has since resolved and they are both working in the same city again.

I also remember coming to the end of my time abroad. I was no longer enjoying my job, and was looking to return to the UK.

The knowledge that I had enough money to fund myself for at least a year meant that I had no qualms about returning to the UK despite not having anything lined up.

The same scenario is about to occur again (don’t go into academia if you want a stable work life). My current contract is due to finish soon. Some of my colleagues are frantically searching for their next position. I’ve already made the decision to take an unpaid sabbatical (maybe up to 6 months) to retrain as a financial planner.

Would I be as easy going about this if I had no savings?

Unlikely.

 

Investing

It was about four years ago that I first started investing.

I had saved a small sum from my time working abroad. Enough that I could set some aside for “emergencies” and still have some left over.

I could see that keeping it all in a savings account paying, at most, 1-2%, was no good.

At the time, I was a frequent lurker on Reddit (a website that, thanks to the recent GameStop stories, you’ve probably all heard of now. But for those unaware, it’s essentially a huge message board). Knowing that there was a subreddit for everything, I stumbled across r/UKpersonalfinance.

I credit this subreddit with first introducing me to investing, and bridging the gap from Money Saving Expert to Monevator. I subsequently found that there were bloggers that covered their journey in detail, and came across the term “FIRE.”

And of course, not long after that, I felt compelled to make my own blog. The rest, as they say, is history

 

In summary

There we have it. A very rambling look through my mind and the origins of my views on money.

I’m looking forward to reading the origins of others over the coming weeks.

 

Interesting links that caught my eye this week:

Blogs

  • Reformed BrokerTwitters lack of success is astonishing

    “Twitter’s stock price is now twenty percent off of its one-year high and forty percent off its all-time high. As illustrated above, its long-term shareholders have never made any money although its most talented users have literally changed the course of human history with their tweets.”

 

  • Of Dollars and DataWhen They Start to Lose, They Change the Rules!

    “When Clarence Saunders got word of these rumors he got angry.  Piggly Wiggly was doing fine, yet these traders on Wall Street were trying to ruin him.  As a result, Sanders publicly announced that he would “beat the Wall Street professionals at their own game.”  Sanders had never bought another stock before in his life, but he was determined to teach Wall Street a lesson. Immediately Sanders took out a $10 million loan sourced from various banks, stuffed his suitcase and pockets full of cash, and boarded a train to New York City.”

 

  • Wealth and RiskWhat your balance sheet omits [human capital].

    “Consider, however, that you might own an asset which is able to generate a regular income over the course of, say, the next 5, 10, or 40 years. An asset that could reliably generate income would be extremely valuable. The most notable omission in a traditional balance sheet is human capital, or your personal ability to generate an income.”

 

  • I Retired YoungKeeping comfort, removing excess

    “I’m not convinced that sacrificing comfort is the best way – it’s not the life I’d choose and it sounds difficult to sustain. Instead, I suspect most of us have some excesses that can be removed or at least trimmed. Doing this will allow us to save, invest more towards our future life and do so without compromising the comfort and enjoyment of what we’re doing now. That’s a plan that makes sense to me.”

 

  • FI ScribblesWhy You Don’t Want A Money Cheat Code

    “Don’t feel rushed or disheartened whenever you feel like you haven’t reached your goals yet – and don’t worry if you’re still trying to figure out your purpose – because what that means is that you still have something to work towards, still have challenges to overcome, and still have room to grow.”

 

  • Banker on WheelsHow to slow down time
    An excellent post from BoW. If you have more, varying, experiences, time will seem to slow down. Compare that to 2020 – several months in lockdown, unable to see anyone or do anything, and the year seems to have flown by!

 

 

  • Mantaro MoneyThe Mantaro Way: A Short Story
    I loved this short parable explaining the “Mantaro Way.” A very inventive short story, comparing investing in stocks vs keeping your money in a savings account.

 

  • MonevatorFighting the Financial Independence demons
    Another great post from Monevator; part checklist of things to get done sooner rather than later (insurance, a will, powers of attorney, etc), part primer on how to get through the long slog towards FIRE.

 

  • Accidental FIREGrease The Groove To Financial Independence.

    “It is possible to make changes through big audacious goals.  But more often than not they lead to failure.  If you want to go from couch potato to being a runner, it’s not the best idea to set a goal of 20 miles a week right from the get-go.  Just go out and run a mile, once a week.  Heck, go run a half mile.  Get started.”

 

 

News

 

 

 

 

Misc

  • Sign up to Trading212 via this link and we both receive a free share.

 

  • Sovereign Quest – A new personal finance curation site launched by Indeedably. It’s already off to a great start. Definitely worth checking out.

 

 

Thanks for reading. Hope you all have a great week!

 

as featured on Sovereign Quest

9 replies on “Wednesday Reads: Financial Origin Story”

It’s funny you should say that about having an ’emergency fund’ in your video games. I used to do this all the time! I’ve since retrained myself to not care anymore as it’s obviously not real money, but it’s an interesting dynamic to have to switch your mindset from reality and splurge £2mil in one session of GTA: Online…if only haha.

I’m glad I wasn’t the only one! It doesn’t even make any sense, because it’s always so easy to make more money in those games.

Ha, I can see that going from GTA: Online, flying in helicopters and racing Ferrari’s, to real life, would be jarring. If only indeed!

Thanks for stopping by 🙂

Great post, so interesting to hear about other people’s money origins. I really liked the part about video games. I’m learning Spanish on Duolingo now and have acquired 10 000 of gems on there. Once a saver, always a saver?

Thanks for stopping by, Kat.

Good effort with Duolingo! I briefly used it a few years ago, but got out of the habit when I moved house and then never picked it back up.

It does seem as though those traits that make a saver bleed through to other aspects of life!

Your origin sounds very similar to mine Dr, I also feel like most of my modern money saving habits spurred from Runescape, World of Warcraft, and Final Fantasy, there was always a sense of achievement from having a huge stack of gold, more so than getting high skill levels. I also attribute all of my knowledge from UKPF, I think almost all of my Reddit upvotes have been from comments or posts in that sub, subscribe to it, and you’re bound to become a financial expert within a year 😀

It’s funny the impact videogames can have on a young mind!

UKPF is a goldmine. You don’t even have to post there; just lurk for a few months, reading the replies and learning from the collective knowledge and experience, and you’ll end up in a far better place.

Just catching up on my reading – thanks for sharing your financial origins.

Like you and some others, I too hoarded my cash when I was gaming – when I played WoW I was aiming to be a gold millionaire (I don’t think I quite got there but I was close!).

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